News Feed July/August


  • Shuiqiao Yang, Bao Doan, Paul Montague, Olivier De Vel, Tamas Abraham, Seyit Camtepe, Damith C. Ranasinghe, Salil S Kanhere, Transferable Graph Backdoor Attack, To Appear in International Symposium on Research in Attacks, Intrusions and Defenses (RAID 2022). CORE A venue from the DSS’s Benchmark list. Paper introduces a stronger backdoor attack compared to the existing work where attacks are transferrable between different GNN models. Paper focusses on a gradient based method determine the positions  of perturbing the edges in the GNN to achieve the best attack effectiveness and transferability.
  • Yuantian Miao, Chao Chen, Lei Pan, Shigang Liu, Seyit Camtepe, Jun Zhang and Yang Xiang, No-Label User-Level Membership Inference for ASR Model Auditing, To Appear in European Symposium on Research in Computer Security (ESORICS). CORE A venue from the DSS’s Benchmark list. The paper propose a method based on user level membership inference on vendor’s ASR models to audit such ASR systems against potential use of user’s voice recording without their consents.
  • G. Sun, T. Alpcan, B. Rubinstein, S. Camtepe, Securing Cyber-Physical Systems: Physics-Enhanced Adversarial Learning for Autonomous Platoons, To Appear in European Conference on Machine Learning and Principles and Practice of Knowledge Discovery in Databases (ECML PKDD). CORE A venue. This work combines cyber-physical system characteristics with DL to develop a hybrid attack detection system. Using knowledge from both physical dynamics and data, the solution defends against both cyber-physical attacks and adversarial attacks. Paper lies at the intersection of control theory and ML domains, merging two in practical scenarios, falls under our attempt to initiate a new direction with  physics inspired ML for robust ML-based cybersecurity applications.
  • Efficient Hash-Based Redactable Signature for Smart Grid Applications, Fei Zhu, Xun Yi, Sharif Abuadbba, Junwei Luo, Surya Nepal, Xinyi Huang, accepted at ESORICS 2022. This work is done by a Data61 PhD scholarship student at RMIT university. 

Summary: Existing redactable signature schemes are computationally inefficient and not post-quantum secure. To fill these gaps, we proposed a hash-based redactable signature scheme based on a random Goldreich-Goldwasser-Micali tree, a length-doubling pseudorandom generator, and an underlying SPHINCS+ framework.

  • Towards Antifragility in Contested Environments: Using Adversarial Search to Learn, Predict, and Counter Open-Ended Threats, Saad Hashmi, Hoa Dam, Peter Smet, Mohan Baruwal Chhetri, accepted at ACSOS 2022. This paper proposes an approach for improving the resilience of systems operating in contested environments through the development of three novel self-* properties: adversarial self-exploration, self-learning and self-training. 
  • Pathum Chamikara Mahawaga Arachchige, Dongxi Liu, Seyit Camtepe, Surya Nepal, Marthie Grobler, Peter Bertok, and Ibrahim Khalil, Local Differential Privacy for Federated Learning,  Accepted by European Symposium on Research in Computer Security (ESORICS). One of the DSS group’s CORA A ranked benchmark venues. The paper proposes a new local differentially private FL protocol (named LDPFL)  for industrial settings. LDPFL can run in industrial settings with untrusted entities while enforcing stronger privacy guarantees than existing approaches.
  • Shahroz Tariq, Binh M. Le, Simon S. Woo, Towards an Awareness of Time Series Anomaly Detection Models’ Adversarial Vulnerability, To appear in the 31st ACM International Conference on Information and Knowledge Management (CIKM 2022). CORE A venue. This work demonstrates that the performance of state-of-the-art DNN- and GNN-based anomaly detection methods are degraded substantially by adding only small adversarial perturbations to the sensor data.  The overarching goal of this research is to raise awareness of the adversarial vulnerabilities of time series anomaly detectors. 
  • Chaoran Li (Swinburne University), Xiao Chen (Monash University), Ruoxi Sun (CSIRO’s Data61), Jason Xue (CSIRO’s Data61), Sheng Wen (Swinburne University), Muhammad Ejaz Ahmed (CSIRO’s Data61), Seyit Camtepe (CSIRO’s Data61), and Yang Xiang (Swinburne University), “Cross-Language Android Permission Specification”, ACM Joint European Software Engineering Conference and Symposium on the Foundations of Software Engineering (ESEC/FSE), 2022
  • Chunyi Zhou (Nanjing University of Science and Technology), Yansong Gao (Nanjing University of Science and Technology), Anmin Fu (Nanjing University of Science and Technology), Kai Chen (Chinese Academy of Science), Zhiyang Dai (Nanjing University of Science and Technology), Zhi Zhang (CSIRO’s Data61), Jason Xue (CSIRO’s Data61), Yuqing Zhang (Chinese Academy of Science), PPA: Preference Profiling Attack Against Federated Learning, The Network and Distributed System Security Symposium (NDSS), 2023


  • We are announcing a new team in DSS: Quantum Technology, led by Muhammad Usman

In the next 3-year timeline, Data61 will bring new breakthroughs in secure quantum software systems and quantum software engineering methods by focusing on security, responsible use, applied/scalable algorithms and software engineering co-design methods and tools for quantum applications. The vision for ten years timeline is to establish Data61 among the world’s top 5 in quantum software security and software engineering, making Australia’s adoption of quantum technology inclusive, efficient and trustworthy.

The research in quantum computing can be broadly classified into three big challenges:

  1. Building scalable universal quantum computers (qubit platforms, control, error-correction)
  2. Use quantum computers to enable solutions to some of the most complex (and classically intractable) problems in data science, cybersecurity, machine learning, health, optimisation, and climate science.
  3. Responsible adoption of quantum computing in a variety of applications by developing quantum software engineering methods, leveraging classical HPC resources for hybrid classical/quantum solutions and protocols.

For more info


  • Kristen Moore presented the Decaas project in the Data61 Knowledge Sharing series, title ‘ML enabled Cyber Deception’, 27/7/22
  • Chamikara Mahawaga Arachchige presented on “Privacy-preserving machine learning and data Sharing in distributed data infrastructure” at the PETS workshop, “Privacy is not an Island – Workshop on Evolving Privacy Challenges and Technological Solutions (WEPCTS)” on 11/07/2022.
  • Our Quantum Systems team leader Usman Muhammad, participated at the exhibition of Quantum Adversarial Machine Learning Technology at the 2022 Chief of Army Symposium in Adelaide from August 10-11.

  • Usman Muhammad did a Guest Lecture at the Australian Institute of Machine Learning (AIML), The University of Adelaide on August 12, 2022, Applications at the intersection of machine learning and quantum computing.


Quantum computing is an emerging paradigm of computing for computationally intensive problems which are currently intractable on classical computing platforms. It is believed that within the next decade, quantum computing will have disruptive impact in many areas of development including materials design, data science and machine learning, health, climate science, and combinatorial optimisation. Among these, machine learning is widely considered as the recipient of early quantum advantage. In this talk, I will discuss recent research at the intersection of machine learning and quantum computing. By presenting a few examples from our recent work, I will establish that the integration of quantum computing and machine learning has the potential to benefit both fields with opportunities for novel applications within the next few years.

If you missed it recording available here:

Good news

  • This winter, UNSW PhD Candidate Roelien Timmer flew to Silicon Valley to join the Frontier Development Lab (FDL), hosted by the SETI Institute in partnership with the NASA Ames Research Centre. FDL pairs machine learning experts with researchers in astronomy, astrophysics, astrobiology and planetary science to tackle space science challenges during an eight-week research sprint. Roelien worked on a challenge to utilise natural language processing (NLP) to help drive cross-disciplinary information discovery across the five NASA Science Mission Directorates.

Students Update

Meet some of our students:

Fei Zhu

I am Fei Zhu from RMIT University, under the supervision of Dr. Alsharif Abuadbba. In Data61, I worked on the collaborative research project “Enhancing Data Security in IoT”. More specifically, my work focused on using traditional cryptographic primitives such as digital signatures to design privacy-preserving data authentication schemes that meet the needs of IoT applications. So far, I have completed eight research papers (some papers are under the submission of first round revision stage) with Sharif, including a CORE A conference paper and four SJR Q1 journal papers.

In the blink of an eye, I have come to the end of my PhD journey. When I think back to the time when Sharif interviewed me, it seems like it happened yesterday. My previous academic background was in theoretical research in cryptography, and Alsharif has spent a long time helping me to improve and train my research philosophy centered on solving practical application problems. I was also stuck overseas for a long time due to the COVID-19 outbreak, but through continuous, virtual catch-ups with Sharif, things went smoother. During these years of study, he provided careful guidance, constructive criticism, and endless encouragement in our every discussion. Besides, he often shared his experience in research and career development, which was very beneficial to me.

I have also attended many Data61 seminars and learned a lot. The most impressive thing was the regular fortnightly meetings organized by Dr. Marthie Grobler and Dr. M.A.P. Chamikara, where I heard a lot of research progress and new things shared by the partners, which greatly expanded my horizon.

Lastly, I am very grateful to Data61 for providing me with the learning environment, resources, and the staff teams’ help. Thanks!

Farina Riaz

In 2017, my family and I moved from the UAE to Australia. On an RTP Fees Offset Scholarship, I began my Doctor of Philosophy programme at the University of Southern Queensland (UniSQ) in July 2020. I have always been interested in challenging research, which is why I applied for the CSIRO Data61 Top up Scholarship and joined CSIRO in January 2021. Joining CSIRO have been one of the best decisions as I got the chance to work under the guidance of enthusiastic research scientists. My doctoral studies are with collaboration of UniSQ and CSIRO, this research is focused on future Quantum Computers as they are very fast and powerful processors and have capability to solve many of the AI optimization problems that we are still trying to solve with Classical computers. As technology is moving towards smart cities.I have chosen the Intelligent Transportation System as the Quantum AI application that will aid in the development of future driverless cars. I am developing quantum machine learning models, which have shown promising results. Since July 2020, I have been working as an IEEE Access Peer reviewer. I am also HDR student representative of UniSQ Collage research committee.From 2015 to 2020, I conducted independent research and published 8 articles in the fields of quantum computing, quantum cryptography, quantum artificial intelligence, machine learning, computer science, and artificial intelligence.  Since 2011 to 2015, I have worked as a university lecturer in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.  I have taught various engineering and programming courses. I studied computer software engineering in my post graduation with a specialization on actor and wireless sensor networks.  In 2010, I created routeing protocols for my research thesis. In 2007, I was employed by NERO as a software quality assurance engineer. I collaborated with CERN Lab Switzerland in 2006, as part of my internship/final year project on grid automation.


Numan Kaluarachchi

Nuwan Kaluarachchi is an HDR candidate in mathematical sciences at RMIT. He is working with Multimodal multi-device continuous authentication to enhance safety by adding more protection over passwords and PINs to multiple devices simultaneously using machine learning and deep learning techniques under the supervision of Dr Arathi Arakala (RMIT), Dr Sevvandi Kandannarachchi (RMIT) and Dr Kristen Moore (Data61),. He completed his bachelor’s degree in Applied Statistics at the Faculty of Science, the University of Colombo, with a First Class Honours. He won the Gold Medal for the Best Student in Applied Statistics. He worked as an Associate data engineer at Altria Consulting Pvt. Ltd before arriving in Melbourne, Australia. 

Ben Harper

I am a new PhD student at CSIRO/UoM, under the supervision of Dr Muhammad Usman at CSIRO and Dr Charles Hill at UoM. After completing a Bachelor of Science (Physics) at the university of Melbourne, I undertook a Masters of Science (Physics) at UoM, which included research on classical simulation of quantum computers, and quantum error correcting codes. Now at CSIRO I am working to develop quantum software, including a compiler framework to turn high level algorithms into error corrected circuits that can run on real machines.


On the 26/8/22 was Wear it Purple day. Wear it Purple is an international day of awareness with a simple message – everybody has the right to be proud of who they are. This year’s theme for Wear It Purple Day is ‘Still me, still human’. The message behind this year’s theme is that people tend to focus on labels, the news story, the target or data, and forget what we truly are – human. Learn about how to create a more inclusive workplace with the Pride in Diversity e-learning module Walking in Rainbow Shoes

Regular Events

  • SAO seminars in collaboration with the Cyber Security CRC

  • Human Centric seminars

Data61 has established a new quantum technology program, focused in the areas of quantum software, quantum security, and quantum algorithms & applications. This seminar series will invite quantum experts to provide an updated summary of the global research on the topics of interest, highlight key challenges in the development of quantum technologies and stimulate new ideas for future research directions. The seminar series will also provide engagement and networking opportunities for Data61 researchers. The seminars will be scheduled on the last Wednesday (3-4 PM AEST) of every month.

In collaboration with Quantum Technology FSP (Prof Jim Rabeau); for more info